Shangri-La Paris: Inside the luxury hotel in Paris now hosts the world’s most famous debutante ball

One of the most lavish and popular events on the high society social calendar is returning after a two-year hiatus.

Le Bal des Débutantes (The Debutantes Ball) is a very unique and regal event that welcomes a select group of 20 young women and men from famous families, from Hollywood royalty to actual royalty around the world. Past celebrity birth debuts include Lori Harvey, Dree Hemingway, Autumn and True Whitaker, Scout and Tallulah Willis, Ava Philippe and Lily Collins.

The event also has a charitable aspect, and this year Le Bal is raising money for two charities: Chef José Andrés’ World Kitchen in the United States and for heart disease research at the Necker–Enfants Malades Hospital in Paris.

Founded in 1994 by Ophélie Renouard, the party was inspired by the 18th century English tradition of the debutante ball, where young ladies were introduced to high society. In the early years of Le Bal’s history, the event was once also known as the Bal de Crillon, or Crillon Ball as it was held year after year at the prominent Paris hotel of the same name. But the Hotel de Crillon underwent extensive renovations over the years and the event has since moved to several different hotels in Paris before settling at the Shangri-La Paris, which hosted the grand affair in 2018 and 2019. And this year will mark the return of the event since the pandemic began.

Shangri-La Paris has the distinguished honor of being one of a handful of hotels in the city deemed by the government to have the distinction of being a palace hotel, signifying both its historical importance and the excellence of its service and hospitality beyond the traditional five. – astrometer.

“Classified as a ‘Historical Monument’, Shangri-La has retained its charm and the sophistication necessary to present Le Bal at its best,” says Renouard. Fate. “Also, the fact that the Shangri-La is a private venue gives it a special feel, and that’s a bonus for a private event like Le Bal.”

Today, the once iconic building welcomes Parisians and world travelers within its walls, 114 years after Prince Roland Bonaparte first opened the doors of his residential palace to Parisian society.

Courtesy of Shangri-La Hotels and Resorts

Shangri-La Hotels and Resorts has more than 100 luxury hotels and resorts with more than 40,000 rooms across Africa, Asia, Europe, the Middle East, North America and Australia since its inception in Singapore in 1971. The hospitality giant is now based in Hong Kong.

Located in the elegant 16th arrondissement of Paris, the hotel houses 100 rooms and suites, with enough amenities that guests may not even want to leave often, despite being steps away from places like the Eiffel Tower and Place du Trocadero as well as many of the most popular the city’s museums, including the Musée Moderne, the Palais de Tokyo and the Palais Galleria with the Musée de la Mode. (Not to mention the hotel is a 15-minute walk from some of the highest-end boutiques—including Chanel, Louis Vuitton, Saint Laurent, and Dior—in the world along Avenue Montaigne and the Champs-Elysées.)

The lobby and lobby are bathed in natural light and feature high ceilings and restored marble.

Courtesy of Shangri-La Hotels and Resorts

But despite hosting one of the world’s most prominent community events—as well as Paris Fashion Week fashion shows each season and Hollywood tabloids (as the hotel’s upscale “Shangri-La Suite,” the brand’s name for its presidential suite, offers unparalleled views of the Paris skyline) — the hotel itself has a much quieter, low-key vibe. This is one of the most luxurious five-star hotels in Paris and of course it welcomes celebrities, but usually those who are not looking for attention from fans and paparazzi.

Guests feel more free to spend time at the lounge’s champagne bar or at the hidden cocktail bar, Le Bar Botaniste. The hotel also often welcomes families and even has a new panda-themed kit for toddlers, including slippers with panda logos, a children’s book and a cool panda toy – all for kids to take home as souvenirs.

Today, the hotel at 10 Avenue d’Iéna is once again the address for Paris’ chic and cultural scene, just as it was more than a century ago.

Courtesy of Shangri-La Hotels and Resorts

A major task of staff at Shangri-La Paris is to master the art of combining an authentic representation of Asian customs and hospitality with the French art of living to develop a strong customer base of European and American customers as well. a long-standing tradition of welcoming guests from Asia.

Originally built as the home of the French Imperial Prince Roland Bonaparte, Napoleon Bonaparte’s great-great-nephew, the site was chosen by the prince for its proximity to the Seine and its strategic location at the heart of Paris for social venues. Under construction from 1892 to 1896, the city palace remained in the family until Bonaparte’s death in 1924, and his daughter sold it soon after to a financial company who converted it into office space. After World War II, the building was taken over by the government until 2005, when it began to undergo renovations before opening as the Shangri-La in 2010.

Built as a tribute to the daughter of Prince Roland Bonaparte, former master of the Parisian estate that now houses the Shangri-La Paris, the Salon Marie Bonaparte offers an intimate setting for all kinds of events, from business meetings and seminars to even birthdays. and weddings, with space for up to 40 people for lunch or dinner.

Courtesy of Shangri-La Hotels and Resorts

Throughout the hotel, guests will find a mix of both French art that came with the estate as well as paintings and other antiques from around Asia, which Shangri-La installs in all of its locations around the world. The most historic areas of the former Palais – including the cast-iron gate on Avenue d’Iéna, the façade, the roof, vestibules and galleries, the entrance vault, the marble staircase, ground floor family rooms (such as billiards). room), and Roland Bonaparte’s private residence on the second floor – were listed in 2009 as a National Heritage Site, an initiative of the Shangri-La Group.

With 100 rooms and suites, two restaurants – including the only Michelin-starred Chinese restaurant in France – as well as a cocktail bar and several historic event and reception rooms, guests can live like a prince or princess in this historic retreat.

Courtesy of Shangri-La Hotels and Resorts

For the rooms (including 37 premium suites), architectural renovations were designed to blend late 19th-century French style with modern (yet minimalist) luxury. And one of the subtle themes of Shangri-La hotels is that every room must have a view, from the Kowloon location overlooking the Hong Kong skyline to the Shard skyscraper, which offers 360-degree views of London. At Shangri-La Paris, 40% of rooms and 60% of suites offer incredible direct views of the Eiffel Tower and the Seine. And the majority of these rooms and suites—nearly half of which have private balconies—are large enough and equipped to entertain friends, family, or business associates.

Shangri-La Paris strives to cultivate a warm atmosphere, with an authentic representation of two cultures: Asian hospitality and the French art of living.

Courtesy of Shangri-La Hotels and Resorts

But the hotel has taken pains to preserve historical elements, with the only notable touches being air conditioning and a Nespresso machine in one of the connecting lounges that makes a backstage for a fashion show.

Overall, the reception and event spaces span 850 square meters (9,150 square feet). Three interconnected rooms – Grand Salon, Salle à Manger and Salon de Famille – lead to the historic gallery on the first floor. The ballroom is located on the rue Fresnel side of the building, an expansive space with integrated audiovisual functionality. Frescoes adorn the walls and the ballroom overlooks part of Prince Roland’s former stables.

Inside the Grand Salon at Shangri-La Paris.

Courtesy of Shangri-La Hotels and Resorts

The large Salon, decorated in Louis XIV style, is the main reception area of ​​the building, both in the time of the prince and today for the hotel. The ballroom features a massive white marble fireplace, adorned with two gilded wood and marble tables, two crystal chandeliers, and dozens of bronze wall decorations (notably crowns, lions, and bees—all symbols embraced by Napoleon Bonaparte) and a trumeau mirror.

One of the lounges at Shangri-La Paris.

Courtesy of Shangri-La Hotels and Resorts

Designed in homage to the Napoleonic era, the Salle à Manger features mahogany carvings of battle weapons and military trophies within the upper arches above the salon doors and windows that open onto an outdoor terrace. Two huge eagle statues with wide wings take pride of place in the room. A Renaissance-inspired fireplace, topped with a double-column mantle, frames a replica of a bronze portrait by Jacques Louis-David. Napoleon on his way over the Alps.

Delicate blue tones and an artistic touch give the Salon de Famille a touch of femininity.

Courtesy of Shangri-La Hotels and Resorts

The Salon de Famille is softer with delicate color tones and an artistic touch, a room mainly used by women during the palace period as a residence. It is decorated mainly in the French Imperial style, with paneled walls painted with winged women around a medallion, and the ceiling has a globe of sphinxes and plants.

Located in the elegant 16th arrondissement, a few steps from the Place du Trocadero, the hotel is located on the other side of the Seine and faces the Eiffel Tower.

Courtesy of Shangri-La Hotels and Resorts

Shangri-La Paris says it can customize its spaces for business meetings and events, from conferences to even an executive suite where staff and events teams can complement work schedules with a variety of wellness activities in the hotel’s underground spa, pool and gym. In addition, the hotel’s award-winning chefs are on hand to organize special culinary experiences celebrating both seasonal French produce as well as Asian cuisine, notably at La Bauhinia, which specializes in Thai food and may have the best Pad Thai in Paris, and Shang Palace, a Chinese restaurant which Shangri-La installs in many of its locations around the world. And the Paris location, overseen by 37-year-old Hong Kong native Samuel Lee Sum, holds the distinction of being the only Chinese restaurant in France with a Michelin star.

Prices at the Shangri-La Paris start at €1,600 ($1,599) for a superior room per night for two during the winter months.

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